Years ago, when I successfully canned my first batches of jams, I was warned. “Jam is the gateway drug for canning. You’ll never be able to stop.”
It’s true. My home-canned inventory grows every year. Part of the joy of canning is getting downstairs to bring up a jar of cherry-rhubarb jam or home-grown salsa instead of writing it on the list and shopping for it. Another pleasure in the canning world is walking down the grocery store aisle and thinking, “I don’t need to buy that. I make my own.”
Let’s see. I had that thought as I walked past…
- jams and jellies
- salsa (but we still buy the chips)
- applesauce (and pear sauce! yum!)
- tomato sauces
- herbs (I don’t can them, but I grow and dry them)
- soup stocks (not canned, but homemade and frozen)
- frozen vegetables (I grow them or buy them at the farmers’ market, then freeze them)
- “fresh” strawberries and other berries (again, I freeze them in season)
Meanwhile, I kept distracting myself from the actual shopping trip by thinking about spring and summer. Organic more expensive? I’ll grow it in the backyard. No problem. Chuck getting picky about breads? I’ll make some in the bread machine. He’ll eat it. What kind of ice cream should I make? Well, I still have a few strawberries in the freezer and a small amount of cherry concentrate. This could be delicious.
On further review, the rhubarb is already coming up, and I have quite a bit in the freezer. I must find a way to barter this rhubarb for something I don’t have. Ideas, readers? What do you do with too much rhubarb? And furthermore, was jam the gateway drug for you?